ttc subway next train screen

People in Toronto can't stand the TTC's ad-covered subway information screens

Complaints about TTC service and safety are all too common in Toronto, but the latest issue among transit users is growing dissatisfaction with information screens meant to inform subway commuters when the next train will arrive.

Several transit users have taken to social media in recent weeks to voice their frustration about the declining usefulness of these display screens, claiming that they fail to achieve their intended purpose, allocate most of their area to ad space, and sometimes are broken altogether.

One commenter noted, "don't know if anyone has noticed, but the majority of the stations west of St. George on Line 2 no longer have the screens that show CP24 or the ETA of the next train."

"I swear transit screens in Toronto will show everything except next arrival times," said another user, adding, "[the] TTC would rather have the screens turned off than show something useful, it sucks."

Another commenter suggested that "the whole screen should be dedicated to next train times and relevant connections, and maybe the weather."

In addition to their functionality, display screens have also been criticized for their reliability, and some transit users are even encountering out-of-commission displays that leave riders uncertain of the next train's arrival.

Similar issues have been noted with display screens providing updates on TTC surface routes. Last August, the CBC reported that 60 of the 300 signs used to update transit users on the next TTC bus arrival were out of service as of mid-2023.

The TTC renegotiated its advertising contract with Pattison Outdoor Advertising LP in 2020, a deal that resulted in the transit agency increasing its ad revenue by granting Pattison further rights to operate and maintain platform video screens, next vehicle arrival screens and station information screens.

Since June 2020, programming, maintenance and replacement of these screens have been included in the Pattison Advertising contract. A TTC report published at that time states that "capital replacement and ongoing maintenance costs associated with these screens will be borne by Pattison."

The TTC confirmed to blogTO that Pattison is in the process of replacing screens at stations including North York Centre, Rosedale, Spadina, Dupont and Glencairn as part of its maintenance of the installations.

Lead photo by

Vaskar Sam/Shutterstock


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